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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-483537050“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” - 1 John 3:1a

Do you look like your parents or siblings? Those of us who do have inevitably experienced a moment when someone meets our family, or sees their picture, and exclaims that (goodness gracious!) you look just like them! Familial resemblance does not just involve our good looks; in even deeper ways we can see it in our behavior. This can go from the mundane (we laugh like our grandfather) to the good (we are compassionate like our mother) to the bad (we have a temper like our older brother). Our families resemble each other in deep and meaningful ways, and this comes into especially sharp focus when we get married. Marriage brings together two people from different families who immediately notice that they have developed different (and sometimes wonderfully complementary!) practices because, "that's how my family does it."

It is well known that Christians consider themselves to be God’s children. In some ways, you could sum up what it means to be a Christian like this: God has made you His child and is now leading you in following the family practices. So often we focus on either the first part (God loves you!) or the second (God tells us what to do!), but, as it turns out, we have a difficult time holding onto both concurrently. The Bible has no such problem and seamlessly integrates the grace of an adopting God with an unflinching treatment of that very same God's ethical standard. It matters what we do precisely because of who we are. We are God’s children. This identity shapes and molds how we should interact with the world. We should be asking ourselves: What family do we belong to; are we in God’s family? If so, we need to ask ourselves what family we resemble. God's provisions about money and family, work and sex, are for the benefit and joy of His children, and we must remember this: we haven't been given an ethic to live by so that we can be God's children, but because we already are. Pursuing the grace of obedience is driven by this very truth, and one cannot live without the other. Today as we fast, let’s thank God that He has brought us into His family and live in the reality that we are His children.  

John Cunningham
Ministry Fellow at Penn